Looking for love but fed up with bar floozies and online “Catfish”? Fear not: From the creative mind of Eastern Michigan University student Alex Nelson comes a new alternative for the single and looking: “The Eastern Hookup.”
“The Eastern Hookup” is a new dating TV program that takes the tried and true blind date interrogation format and localizes it to EMU’s campus. The program, which is available on the EMU Television YouTube Channel as well as the Campus Cable Channel, assembles three possible suitors for an eligible bachelor or bachelorette.
The eligible contestant is then given free rein to poke and prod their prospective suitors to their heart’s desire.
Why turn to what some may call a dated dating medium? Meeting people in a bar is a total crapshoot where you’re initiating conversations from things you can see, such as eye color. Plus, as we’ve seen in recent pop culture stories, meeting people online isn’t as foolproof as the eHarmony commercials make it seem.
“Dating is tough, especially in a world that can seem loveless at times,” Nelson said. “I want to light that spark between people, which could lead to a long-lasting platonic or intimate relationship. Everybody deserves a chance to find love, and that is the aim of our dating show. Also, as an [electronic media and film studies] major, I enjoy the hands-on experience that goes into producing and directing a show.”
The producer/director explained his format is ideal because it gets the love juices flowing through something more profound than mere physical attraction: mental compatibility. By making the bachelor or bachelorette blind to the cosmetic appearance of their potential mate, they’re forced to make decisions based entirely on personality.
The contestants control their own destiny through their questioning and eliminating of suitors who don’t give agreeable answers. Nelson facilitates some of the questions but encourages contestants to create a few questions of their own.
“The questions are meant to keep the conversation going, promote storytelling and keep the mood relaxed,” Nelson said. “Organic conversation helps to establish a connection, and makes for a much better TV program for the viewer.”
Nelson elaborated on his goals for the show by explaining that while love connections are his top priority, the desire to deliver an entertaining program comes in a close second. One episode of his show featured a disheveled-looking gentleman who described his worst date as having occurred with someone named “Jean Grey” who suffered a massive character-altering headache that changed her into a “Phoenix.” Quick-witted host Chad Austin described the suitor as “super” and “marvel-ous.”
The criteria for possible contestants are without prejudice. In other words, anyone available on a day of taping is eligible.
“Energy and liveliness are always good qualities, but we take people of all backgrounds and sexual orientations,” Nelson said.
With things being so wide open, it can be difficult to match compatible people together on the show.
“Everyone looks for something different in a mate, and it is very
hard to predict who will connect with who,” Nelson said. “We try to keep a degree of variety when it comes to the matchmaking.
Sometimes like-minded people get along swimmingly and other times, opposites attract. It is all a matter of chance, and we find out once they come on the show.”
If you’re looking for a fun, easy-going environment to try and find your next (or last?) significant other, look no further than “The Eastern Hookup.” New episodes are released every two weeks and only two more tapings are scheduled. Discussions about additional episodes are in the works, but you’ll want to act soon to be considered as a contestant.
There’s a million different ways for an EMU student to use their free time, but Nelson’s “The Eastern Hookup” is the place to go for a blend of love, laughter and the occasional X-Men reference.
To become a contestant on the show or for more information about ETV, contact Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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